wise as serpents, innocent as doves

dove surrounded by snake, Lichfield Cathedral, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
 
Dear Lord, you have sent me into this world to preach your word.
So often the problems of this world seem so complex and intricate
    that your word strikes me as embarrassingly simple.
Many times I feel tongue-tied in the company of people
    who are dealing with the world’s social and economic problems.
But you, O Lord, said, “Be clever as serpents and innocent as doves.”
Let me retain innocence and simplicity in the midst of this complex world.
I realize that I have to be informed,
     that I have to study the many aspects of the problems facing the world,
     and that I have to try to understand as well as possible 
     the dynamics of our contemporary society.
But what really counts in that all this information, knowledge, and insight
    allows me to speak more clearly and unambiguously 
    your truthful word.
Do not allow evil powers to seduce me with the complexities of the world’s problems,
    but give me the strength to think clearly, speak freely, and act boldly in your service.
Give me the courage to show the dove in a world so full of serpents.
 
Henri J.M. Nouwen, 1932 – 1996, Dutch-born Catholic priest and author 
 
__________________________
 
 
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, 
    so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 
Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 
    and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, 
    to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 
When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, 
    for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 
For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

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